Home News and Features Review: Msd3k’s ‘The Master Debater’

Review: Msd3k’s ‘The Master Debater’

“The Master Debater” cover art, courtesy of the artist.
By Emery Brush

“The Master Debater,” recently released by Montpelier artist Msd3k (pronounced “em-es-dee-three-kay”), is a short but fun listen. The basslines are consistently fun and funky, and instrumentally were my favorite parts of the album. 

Across the four tracks, the real meat lies in tracks two and four, “Master Debater,” and “Master Debater 2: Here I Come Again.” If you didn’t get the pun, the album’s main themes draw comparison between those who consider themselves a “Master Debater” and the act described without the “De.” There is some wonderful wordplay here that will leave you laughing, and perhaps blushing, depending on your proclivities. The album is a smart call-out to those who might say phrases like “Facts don’t care about your feelings.”

Master Debater starts off hot and heavy with the line “With pen in hand or I can do it orally, convincing all the people of something morally questionable, don’t believe what I say, I’m a master debater, I can go both ways.”

The album encourages you to read between the lines — and not just those that Msd3k raps, but also to the words of politicians or public figures. There are a myriad of double meanings in almost all of the songs on the album. The lyrics initially paint an image of a more sexual nature, but digging deeper you can see the comparisons of those on a debate stage, speaking loudly, quickly, and confidently over their opponent with their theatrics and “debate skills” burying the truth, and that their main thesis is a lie. The line “All men are mortal, Socrates was a man, but I’ll convince you he’s alive cuz I know that I can” drives this point home.

I will not point out all the lewd metaphors Msd3k offers — but if you are curious, every single one of the quips is notated in the “The Master Debater Manual,” in case you missed them. The manual includes complete lyrics, tables of reference for, well, all the references, and a dictionary of all of the units of measure mentioned in the fun middle track, “Unit of measure,” along with credits and some notes.

In a time when streaming music is immensely popular, it is refreshing to have a document akin to a CD booklet to look through and get a deeper understanding of the artist’s intent. 

Musically, the backing was solid but a little barebones, but for a first time self-produced album, I would say it’s competent. The funk inspirations are clear and I enjoyed the organ and bass tracks. Additionally, the backup vocalist featured on several songs was a wonderful addition. 

You don’t see much comedy or parody music in 2023, and “The Master Debater” is unashamed to try and bring it back. It’s a great effort to bring Tom Lehrer-style comedy music into the modern day, and I am absolutely here for it. For fans of hip hop, laughs, or both, I’d recommend checking it out — I’m very interested to see what Msd3k will have to offer in the future. 

Listen to “The Master Debater” on Bandcamp at msd3k.bandcamp.com. The artist says it will soon be available on most streaming platforms.